Words of French origin

(Many words from French are used in English)

cafe (s) (noun), cafes (pl)
A small eating establishment that typically serves drinks and snacks, cake, or light foods: When traveling, Jane enjoyed sitting at a cafe and watching the pedestrians strolling past.
camouflage (s) (noun), camouflages (pl)
1. A method used to hide something by painting it or covering it with leaves or branches to make it harder for others to see: The army tanks and other vehicles were painted brown and green for camouflage so enemy troops could not catch sight of them.
2. Something that protects an animal from attack by making the creature difficult to see in its environment: Some rabbits have white fur which functions as camouflage in the snow.
3. A behavior which is meant to hide something or to convince others of something that is not true: Herb's strong attitude functioned as camouflage for his insecurity.
4. Etymology: from French camoufier, "to disguise"; which came from Italian camuffare, "to trick, to disguise"; a contraction of capo muffare, "to make sounds quieter by covering the head".
A procedure used to conceal people or things by making them appear to be a part of some natural surrounding.
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camouflage (verb), camouflages; camouflaged; camouflaging
To conceal something by making it harder to see or to detect: The business man tried to camouflage the negative economic conditions of his company so investors would not be aware of the real facts.
carte blanche (kart BLAHNSH, kart BLAHNCH) (s) (noun) (no plural)
Permission to do something in any way that is determined by another person: Frank and Mary gave the decorator carte blanche to remodel their apartment.
An unlimited authority and freedom of action and judgement to do something.
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causerie (s) (noun), causeries (pl)
An informal conversation or discussion regarding a significant subject: Joe's parents wanted to have a causerie with him about the grades he received in his report card from school.
A casual talk about something important.
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chassis (s) (noun), chassis (pl)
The sturdy frame of a structure, such as of an automobile or of electronic equipment: The repair shop advised Mr. Wilkins that the chassis of his car was badly rusted due to the heavy salt used on the roads during the winter.
chiffon (s) (noun), chiffons (pl)
A light, thin, quality fabric typically used for dresses, scarves, etc.: Martha decided to wear her green chiffon to the St. Patrick's Day Party.
chiffon (adjective), more chiffon, most chiffon
Descriptive of something that is light, fluffy, or of a transparent nature: Mrs. Anderson commented that the orange cake was the most chiffon she had ever tasted and gave the baker first prize in the baking contest.

The chiffon scarf which Sally tied around her summer hat matched the pink pattern in her skirt.

ci-devant (adjective) (not comparable)
Applied to a person with reference to an office or a position which he or she no longer occupies: The school's ci-devant, or retired, principal is spending a lot of time traveling with his family.
A recent or previous person who was in a position but is now retired.
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cigarette (s) (noun), cigarettes (pl)
A short rolled tube of fine paper containing tobacco which is lighted and smoked by people: The older boys at school gathered behind the fence so they could puff on cigarettes without being seen.
claque (s) (noun), claques (pl)
1. A group of people who are hired to applaud, or to heckle, a performer or public speaker and even to cheer certain performers: The claques provide acting artists with a guarantee of applause and in return they receive free passes to the ballet or dramatic presentations which have been allocated or distributed to the dancers or actors.
2. Sycophantic followers, or servile self-seekers, of a well-known person: The famous actor was often surrounded by a claque of adoring people who wanted him to notice them so they could take his picture; especially, when he would stand next to them in the photographs.
People who are paid to go to a play, etc. and to applaud.
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Hired applauders for entertaining presentations.
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A group of paid admiring followers.
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claqueur (s) (noun), claqueurs (pl)
Professional fans who provide applause and ovations for certain dancers or performers: Roman emperors are said to have trained expert claqueurs to mingle with crowds to give roars of approval at specific times so the emperors appeared to have the support of the people.

Such behavior of people was refined in the theaters of 18th and 19th-century France, where the term claqueur, or someone who claps, was coined.

Why do performing artists need claqueurs? Some performers like to have a few extra seconds to catch their breaths between the end of an adagio and the beginning of a variation.

Dancers of the Bolshoi rarely talk in public about the existence of claqueurs for self-preservation even when the artist has confidence and doesn't feel the need for guaranteed applause any more; however, some of the Bolshoi's claqueurs are known as 'thin-skinned and vengeful', and they can come up with a variety of strategies for disturbing the performances of any uncooperative dancer.

—Much of this content has been compiled from
"By clandestine agreement, wild applause at the Bolshoi, from the pros"
by Ellen Barry; International Herald Tribune,
"The Global Edition of the New York Times";
Friday, August 16, 2013; pages 1 and 5.
collage (s) (noun), collages (pl)
An artistic creation made of a variety of materials, like fabric, foil, and paper, which are glued to a flat surface to develop a picture or scene: Using old photographs, Joanna designed a collage which represented the many generations of her family.
corsage (s) (noun), corsages (pl)
1. A small bouquet of flowers, ribbons, etc. that is worn as an accessory with women's clothing: Kitty was given a gardenia corsage to wear with her party dress when she went to the school dance.
2. The blouse or top half of a dress: The corsage of Mrs. Atkinson's dress, which she wore on somber occasions, was dark blue.
coup de grace (s) (noun), coups de grace (pl)
An action or an event that finally ends or destroys something that has been getting weaker or worse: The legislature's decision to stop funding the governor's proposal has administered the coup de grace to any further action on his part.
A decisive finishing stroke.
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See other English words from foreign languages at this
Other Languages Index.